Reflecting on a merry and bright– and successful!- 2023
By Brie Zeltner
Youthcast Media Group®
Happy Holidays, friends of Youthcast Media Group!
Winter is a time for hunkering down and finishing projects, for celebrating a year full of accomplishments and for looking ahead to what the new year will bring.
We’re busy with work on a number of fronts this month – finishing our successful third trimester of collaboration with students in the well-established journalism program at Annandale High School in Virginia, and our first classroom collaboration with Bard High School Early College in D.C., where students are brand new to journalism. Students at Annandale and Bard are working on stories about a wide variety of health equity issues, including the mental health and educational impacts on teens with justice involvement who attend alternative schools, the mental health impacts of technology and social media and the undercounting of youth homelessness and the “precariously housed.”
We’ll publish these stories– and more!-- on our site and outside publications this winter, so stay tuned for those.
Our three regional teams of experienced student journalists in our fall feature writing workshop interviewed peers and experts, created surveys and polled their classmates and wrote well-researched and fascinating stories about distracted driving and the impact of the unreliability of public transportation on student mental health and education in Philadelphia.
As usual, our students gained skills and confidence from the workshop experience, and said nearly unanimously that they’d like to work more with YMG and would recommend our programs to their peers. One student said of her workshop experience: “It was truly insightful. I first thought this was going to be about the health risks of transportation, but it encompassed more than that– [including] distracted driving, insufficient schools, among many others.”
Our Creators Club, launched in earnest over the summer, has picked up some new, enthusiastic and absolutely delightful members from Herndon and Wakefield High Schools in Virginia and New Beginnings Vocational School in D.C, thanks in part to a grant from the Harraseeket Foundation. Our nine new creators are working with two new fabulous and talented mentor-editors, Nichole Christian and Petruce Jean-Charles. Christian, a Detroit native and a former journalist with 25 years of experience, and Jean-Charles, who has a master’s in journalism from American University and works as a social media editor, are sharing their insight and expertise while helping students write scripts and shoot videos for our social media platforms.
Looking back on this year, we’re celebrating:
More than 90 new students trained and 18 who returned for more than one program;
15 stories published in 12 publications, including six new publishing outlets;
Nearly 100% student satisfaction with programs;
Three new mentor-editors working with students;
Student-led interviews with nearly two dozen experts, including a Cleveland Clinic doctor, a prison reform TikTok influencer, an advocate for families of color who have lost loved ones to police violence, and a nationally renowned sports psychologist.
That’s a lot to feel merry and bright about… and we’re planning to have even more on our list of accomplishments next year.
Happy holidays to you, friends. We’ll see you in 2024!